“Sixteenth and seventeenth century Spanish America was a land of opportunity for the lesser nobility, professionals, artisans and even workers and peasants, and they immigrated to America in great numbers. From 1492 to 1570, approximately 226,000 Spanish immigrants sought a better life in America. In the seventeenth century, an additional 450,000 emigrated. Most sixteenth-century emigrants were poor Andalusian men in their 20s and 30s…” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 183.

 

“The orderliness of the city [La Ciudad de Los Reyes] demonstrated the Spanish attempt to impose rational European structure upon America.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 178.

 

“The imposition of Spanish control over Indian societies by church and state in the sixteenth century was greatly assisted by the collapse of [the] native population as a result of repeated epidemics and pandemics, as well as a drop in births… On the mainland, tens of millions [of American Indians] died during the course of the sixteenth century. Europeans brought from Eurasia and Africa a range of infectious diseases, including smallpox, typhus, measles, diphtheria, influenza, typhoid, the plague, pneumonia and more. It is estimated that the native population of Mexico fell from an estimated 17 million at contact in 1519 to between 3.5 million and 1.1 million by the end of the sixteenth century.

Despite these enormous losses in Mexico and Peru and throughout Spanish America, natives still vastly outnumbered Spaniards. To better protect, evangelize and tax native peoples, the crown attempted to implement a policy of segregation, the creation of two ethnic “republics.”… Economic pressures and race mixing undermined this ambitious design.

Nevertheless, a distinctly separate Indian culture survived conquest and colonialism.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 174.

“…the Spanish Indies helped Spain become the greatest power in Europe and the Atlantic basin.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 170.

 

“In fact, Castilian, which today is simply called Spanish, became one of the great languages of the world, a language of imperial decrees, of poetry and theater and of innumerable books. And today, Spanish is the principal language of nearly one-fifth of the human race.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 169.

“Imposing civitas on the New World included mapping and naming. Of course, both elements denied previous, indigenous ordering of territory. Spanish mapping and naming of the New World legitimized possession and facilitated control and order.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 168.

 

“The sixteenth century marks Spain’s Golden Age. Its power and wealth was unrivaled. Poets, dramatists, novelists, theologians and historians made Castilian a great literary language. Artists, architects and sculptors brought Spain respect and recognition in an age dominated by Italian masters. Spanish America was the progeny of a dynamic parent. Spaniards and Spanish Americans, working with the strength and creativity of Indians and Africans, built that era’s greatest empire based largely on silver and gold… Great and beautiful cities, no less impressive than many in Europe, stretched across the New World. Universities, libraries, printing presses and theaters enhanced the culture of the American kingdoms.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 162.

 

“In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the emerging Atlantic World was Spanish and Portuguese. These innovators constructed the most impressive imperial structures in the West since the Romans dominated the Mediterranean world. For the first time, the Iberian empires connected the peoples of Europe, Africa and the Americas. This connection was commercial, social and cultural as well as political and administrative. Back and forth across the Atlantic in various patterns and networks flowed people, animals, plants, diseases, commodities, manufactures, customs, ideas and much else… Both Spain and Portugal extended their commerce to Asia as well, but it was the Atlantic rim that was Europeanized, albeit a fragmentary and thin veneer overlaying deep African and Indian foundations. Their overseas realms were extensions of European culture…sustained by African and Indian trade and labor and influenced by African and Indian customs. Nevertheless, the empires were inspiring.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 161.

 

“In 1506, [Mvemba] A Nzinga, christened as Afonso I, seized the Kongo throne with Portuguese assistance against an anti-Portuguese faction upon the death of his father. Afonso was a sincere Christian and believed in, and cooperated with, the Portuguese experiment of Europeanizing an African state… Two years after [Afonso’s] accession, a Jesuit mission of some fifteen priests arrived in M’banza at his request. Following…[a] set of instructions [from] the Portuguese King Manoel in 1512, Afonso and his Portuguese advisers established a European-style royal court, wore Portuguese dress, created a Portuguese table of silver and gold plates and utensils, built a Portuguese-style throne, distributed titles of nobility, attempted to implement elements of Portuguese law and attempted to undermine the Kongo cult of royal graves. M’banza was renamed São Salvador and stone buildings began to arise… Despite the best efforts of Afonso…and [the] Portuguese advisers, Afonso remained a Christian king of a mostly pagan land.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 115.

“On the coast of Africa and throughout the Americas, the Portuguese and the Spanish made alliances and war with African and Native American cooperation and assistance. Forged in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Portuguese and Spanish empires were not exclusively Portuguese and Spanish constructions. The Portuguese were on the coast of Africa with the forbearance of local African rulers where they traded in gold and slaves with the cooperation and participation of African societies. The Spanish achieved dominion over a few powerful Native American empires thanks to alliances with other Native American states and the arms of Native and African conquistadores. They ruled and taxed native societies with the cooperation [of] the native nobility. From the very beginning, the Atlantic World was an ethnically diverse world based on cooperation as much as on force.” – Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 106.